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Works by Astor Piazzolla and Leonard Bernstein Highlight Brickyard Pond Opening of 2003-04 Presenting Series

KEENE, NH, 8/27/03 - One of the Northeast’s most unusual chamber music ensembles, the Empire Saxophone Quartet, will open Keene State College’s Redfern Arts Center on Brickyard Pond’s 24th annual Presenting Series. The performance, which includes works by Astor Piazzolla, J. S. Bach, William Pardus, and Leonard Bernstein, will be held in the Alumni Recital Hall, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 7:30 p.m. Playing a repertoire that includes classical works from the Renaissance through contemporary periods, as well as pop, jazz, and ragtime, ESQ takes full advantage of the versatility of the saxophone to achieve the subtleties of a fine string quartet, the power of a brass quintet, and the grandeur of a pipe organ. Joining ESQ will be marimbist Gordon Scott to play David Kechley’s "Saxophone Quartet with Marimba."

Tickets for the performance are available at the Brickyard Pond box office, 603-358-2168, or on the web at www.keene.edu/racbp. Prices are $12 for the general public, $10 for seniors and KSC faculty and staff, $6 for youth 17 and younger, and $5 for KSC students with ID. In order to request accommodations for a disability, please contact the Redfern Arts Center on Brickyard Pond’s Box Office at 603-358-2168 two weeks prior to the event.

There are two residency activities free to the public: a 1:30-3 p.m. open rehearsal with ESQ and Stout in the Alumni Recital Hall and a "Meet the Composer Conversation" with Kechley in Brickyard Pond’s Harry Davis Room at 6:45 p.m.

The residency is funded in part by a grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts, and Meet the Composer, Inc., with additional support from ASCAP, the Virgil Thomson Fund, with additional support from the six New England state arts agencies, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Founded over eight years ago, ESQ is composed of Steven Mauk, Jamal Rossi, April Lucas and Anthony Alduino performing respectively on the soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. Mauk is professor of saxophone at Ithaca College, while Rossi serves as the school’s associate dean. Both Lucas and Alduino are music educators and performers from the Binghamton area.

Many consider the saxophone to be only a jazz or popular music instrument. This notion is being changed with each performance of the ESQ. Their ability to control dynamics - ranging from the hushed pianissimo of a string quartet transcription to the driving forte of a Glenn Miller selection - is remarkable. The subtle control of ensemble nuances, balance and intonation, coupled with the wide dynamic capabilities, make ESQ unique. ESQ is an artist/clinician ensemble for the Selmer Company.

Marimbist Gordon Stout is professor of percussion and chair of the Performance Studies Department at the School of Music at Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y. A composer as well as percussionist who specializes on marimba, he has premiered a number of his original compositions and works by other contemporary composers. Many of his published compositions for marimba have become standard repertoire for marimba players worldwide.

David Kechley is professor of music and department chairman at Williams College. Since the premiere of "Second Composition for Large Orchestra" by the Seattle Symphony in 1968, Kechley has produced 67 major works that have been performed throughout North America and Europe as well as other parts of the world. The Minnesota Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Pops, Seattle Symphony, Kronos Quartet, and the Lark Quartet, among others, have performed over 800 performances of his works. "Saxophone Quartet with Marimba" was composed specifically for Stout and ESQ. It can be heard on the recording "In the Dragon’s Garden: Music by David Kechley," a disc of works for saxophones featuring Stout, ESQ, and the Ryoanji Duo. It is a 2002 Liscio Recordings release.

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